Washington: 2012 was the hottest 10 year on record, a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
NOAA’s yearly report on the ‘state of the climate’ was released by the American Meteorological Society on Tuesday. The report, compiled with the help of 384 scientists across 52 countries, drew its conclusion from measures of greenhouse gas concentrations, sea surface and atmospheric temperatures, sea level rise, sea ice extent and snow cover.
The ‘State of the Climate in 2012’ paints a sobering picture of the planet that has transformed by rising temperatures.
The NOAA report arrives at a time when the contrarians on climate change pointed out that the last 15 years have shown a bad picture of global atmospheric temperatures.
• Arctic sea ice reached record lows during the summer melt. In Greenland, about 97% of its ice sheet melted in the summer which was far greater than in years past.
• Greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise.
• In early May, the ratio of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million in an average daily reading at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, thought to be the highest concentration in millions of years.
• Heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of fossil fuels are the primary cause of higher global temperatures.
• Surface ocean temperatures in 2012 were among the 11 warmest on record.
• Sea levels reached a record high in 2012, climbing 1.3 inches per decade since satellite tracking of sea levels began in 1993, NOAA said.
• The Arctic also underwent “unprecedented change” and the warming trends there broke several records, the report said.
NOAA hopes that the report would help businesses, communities, farmers and governments to gauge their vulnerability to climate change and prepare themselves to address the urgent call.
According the study, the annual average global temperature has risen sharply over the last 150 years and is now about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than in pre-industrial times.
Nine of the 10 hottest years have been recorded since the late 1990s, with 2012 ranking number 8 or 9, depending on the methodology.
Notably the NOAA has reported this year in January that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the lower 48 states.
The report also underlined the effect of oceans on temperatures. The study says, oceans store much of the planet’s heat, but ocean heat storage is at near-record levels and increases were detected even in the ocean’s depths.
Because the ice caps act as the planet’s “air conditioners,” scientists say, less Arctic ice means less ability to reduce heat.
Overall, the report indicates that trends in our changing climate – warming temperatures, rising sea levels, shrinking Arctic sea ice – continue apace.